Timing of First Clean Air Act Permits Set by EPA

Timing of First Clean Air Act Permits Set by EPA

Congress must act before January.

The EPA has announced that the largest stationary sources of climate gases will have to start getting permits next January, which places new pressure on Congress to act ahead of the November elections.

Under pressure from ag, utilities and the states, EPA determined it can only legally delay its stationary source greenhouse gas permit requirement until Jan. 1, 2011,  just seven months past the original May 31 compliance date.

American Farm Bureau Climate Change Specialist Rick Krause says that does not give Congress enough time to pass compromise climate legislation, which could still be very unpopular, ahead of the November elections.

"It's going to make things like the Murkowski resolution, which would nullify the endangerment finding, a lot more attractive," Krause said.

But if Congress can't undo the EPA finding that carbon dioxide is a health hazard Krause says there is a fall back.

"It would make the Rockefeller bill, which provides for a two year extension of time before stationary sources become applicable to EPA regulations, a lot more attractive and a lot more imminent in terms of their urgency," Krause said.

Senate Ag Chair Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., a co-sponsor of Senator Lisa Murkowski's, R-Alaska, measure, recently acknowledged that the measure of Senator Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., may win Congress enough time to figure out a legislative solution that will put less pressure on energy prices. Krause says Farm Bureau still favors the Murkowski resolution, but admits President Obama is not likely to sign a measure against his own policy and EPA, which leaves the Rockefeller measure.

"The issue here now is that EPA has given Congress its time deadline and Congress needs to do something before that time," Krause said. "Otherwise, all these stationary sources including farming and ranching operations are going to be subject to EPA regulation."

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